More than 200 skateboarders, scooterers, school students, parents and Flaxmere residents are having their say on the new Flaxmere skate plaza, and that input will have a real impact on the outcome.
A site plan is being prepared by top Kiwi skate facility designer Richard Smith, who is also a passionate skateboarder. Prior to putting pen to paper, he and research company FOLKL talked with users (young and old), parents and the wider community, to find out what they wanted to see at the new skate plaza, and where they wanted it to be.
Following that feedback, the new home for the new skate plaza was confirmed this month. It will be on Flaxmere Park, on the corner of Henderson Rd and Swansea Rd.
The site was popular for its high visibility, a proven deterrent to anti-social behaviour, being right next door to the playground so families with children across ages and stages can play in the same area, and near to public toilets and a drinking fountain at the park.
The new facility will replace the existing one behind Flaxmere Village, which must be removed to make way for residential and commercial development, with work on that due to start before Christmas.
The focus is now on how the skate plaza will ‘flow’, and how it will look and operate.
High on the kids’ wish lists was safety, including: “shade, parent access, Maori warden or City Assist [supervision], smoke/drug/alcohol-free, fencing, lighting and CCTV.”
They also wanted the facility to strongly reflect their culture: “multicultural mural, Māori design, planting, appropriate graffiti art, fluid graffiti art wall.”
It also needed elements to suit different ages and skill levels, including a spine ramp, bowl and “double thrasher”. Seating, scooter hire and music were also on the list.
The community’s desire to have the skate plaza reflect Flaxmere had led to Hawke’s Bay Pasifika Youth Leadership Group and Iwi Toi being engaged to develop the artistic and cultural elements.
Hastings District councillor Peleti Oli said the best part about the process had been input from the young people who were most likely to use it, “plus some of our older guys who can still stay on their skateboards”.
“I’m really proud of our young people. Each of Flaxmere’s schools has nominated representatives who’ve talked with their mates on they want, then brought it back to the group for sharing and discussion. All this input is going to make for an awesome skate plaza.”
A first draft of the concept plan has been provided to the working group, made up of school students and adults.
A 3D model should be ready in October, after which final design and construction plans will be prepared closer to Christmas. Depending on the availability of contractors, it is hoped that construction work will start in April next year.
15 September 2021
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